The other day, I was having the perfect weekday evening of lying in jammies while I scorch my brains with lots of melodrama, heavy costumes, and not to forget the over the top acting. Don’t judge me, I like my Indian soap operas on occasions when there is no chilling with Netflix (no pun intended). Plus that’s how to wind up after a long day at work. Maybe that’s just me? (I need to learn other ways of leading a sane life). And to all the never ending dramas, there was one common plot: ‘tu meri bete k layak nahiin hai’. With this the hypocritical mother in law meant, how did my son fall for a dweep like you, I mean just look at you. And this common plot of bullying the daughter in law (who I must say, bro get a life, no body is so selfless to get your own husband married off to a scheming woman, just because your mother in law asked you to do so), actually got me to thinking about the whole perfect daughter in laws that all parents want for their not so perfect son.
PS, long post alert!
Perfect daughter in laws (hell no, this doesn’t exist), is a notion that is sought after in most Asian countries, especially the Indian sub continent, where arrange marriage prevail and will never leave us (And kids, this is How I Met Your Father). The families of an eligible groom (at least that’s what his mommy thinks, even though he may be a, total jerk), go on this hunt to find the perfect bride for their son. They look for a girl high and low, visiting all cities and states for some chai and samosas while they test the girl on how she walks, talks and serves the chai. Cz that’s how we know the girl is perfect right??
So what do these families look for a in a girl? Well the list is pretty simple:
- She has to be pretty (like Miss Universe pretty, cz their son has won the local Mr Mohalla)
- Well educated, with a couple of Masters and PHD degrees (because having an educated girl is part of the mob ‘padega India, tab hi toh badega India’)
- Most importantly an amazing cook who knows how to cook butter chicken even if she is a pure vegetarian marrying into a non vegetarian household (the combo of a shakahari and maasahaari).
- And not said openly but she has to be loaded (she should be having the money of Vijaya Mallaya, even if its all stolen or loaned or black money)
Once they find a girl who scores 11 on 10 for all the above criteria, cz let’s face it, when it comes to finding your daughter in law, a 10 on 10 is just an average girl and you may be compromising. And the boy’s family never compromise. Then come’s the big day of the alliance, not just between the girl and the boy but with the girl and here in laws. With the boy come a mummy, daddy, didi, jija, jija ki saali, sali k husband, wo husband ki first wife aur uski saali (like for real) and so on. It’s like buy one and get 100 free with life time warranty.
Come to day 2 of the wedding, where we start testing our perfect daughter in law, in the saree she has worn, the jewelry she has brought. And in all that dress up game, she is asked to prepare a sweet dish for the fam. This ladies and gentlemen is test no 2. And if she has managed to impress the in laws, means she would have made it through month 1 (hopefully), if not then God only save you!
Even though all the wedding rituals have not completely ended (more 500 rituals left, hail Indian customs *in the hail mogambo voice*) the new bride is put to test on a number of occasions of the smallest of things, such as preparing chai. She is expected to cook, clean, garden, shop, be a nurse to the elders, a clown to the younger ones and a mistress to her husband. After doing all the household chores she has to go out to work on her career while maintaining her Miss Universe looks. And boy, if she misses doing even one, just once, the tag of the perfect daughter in law is taken right away. Which brings us to the question why people think perfect daughter in laws is a good idea?
Because people like to think that there exist something called the perfect daughter in law. And everyone wants the best for themselves and their families. But I hate to break it to you, there is no such thing as perfect daughter in law, and expecting one is an extremely bad idea! No matter how pretty and rich she is, equipped with Sanjeev Kapoor cooking skills, your daughter in law is only human and is bound to make a few mistakes, she is bound to get tired, she is also bound to not be enjoying doing everything to please and will happily give away her title, because she is human.
Marriages, especially desi ones, come with so many expectations and priorities set for the girl even before she gets engaged, let alone being married. This in turn makes a lot of couples to opt out from their joint family lifestyle and live a nuclear life with each other, where there are no in laws. If the couple decides to stay with the family, there are so many rifts and the poor son is always caught up between his parents and wife.
To this all I would say is do not pressurize her with responsibilities. Forgive her mistakes, teach her what she doesn’t know. She has left her parents to stay with a new family who she might have accepted as her own. But when Sharmaji’s daughter in law is doing much better than your’s, do not compare. In fact let her make mistakes and as the in law correct her mistakes, but just the way you would correct your son or daughter. Never give your daughter in law the feel that she doesn’t belong.
I, myself being a daughter, luckily didn’t have to face the grunt of being a good or bad one. Both Sameer (husband reference of the day) and I being based out of India, had to soon leave after marriage to get back to routine life. So stars being on my side, I didn’t have to dress to impress or prepare the sweet dish on day 2. Not I’m saying I would have been judged, my inlaws are pretty awesome and super chilled. And have been blessed to be married in to such an amazing family. But there are other girls that I have met and will totally relate to what I have written.
If you think I make sense (which I feel people will think I am talking rubbish and went totally off the point), please let me know. And if you have something to add, I would love to read and make an extended version of the post with your comments.
Until next time!